C.O.W.L. 11

cowl 11 Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing C.O.W.L. 11, originally released July 22nd, 2015.

Spencer: One of my favorite expressions is “would I do it all again?” Usually it’s only uttered after a long string of consequences (“So I ended up breaking both legs…but would I do it all again?”), and it’s never an actual question — if you’re asking “would I do it all again,” you’re basically admitting that yes, you would. No matter what consequences you faced, it was worth it. This phrase has an opposite as well — “Was it worth it?” Just like “would I do it all again,” “was it worth it” is rarely a question — it’s almost always an admission that no, whatever you did was not worth the consequences. It’s a phrase uttered by Geoffrey Warner in the final moments of Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Rod Reis’ C.O.W.L., leaving the readers with the impression that even Warner knows that the actions he took to keep C.O.W.L. in business aren’t justified. No matter what C.O.W.L. goes on to accomplish in the future, Warner’s actions will forever be hanging over the organization like a dark cloud. Continue reading

C.O.W.L. 9

Alternating Currents: C.O.W.L. 9, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing C.O.W.L. 9, originally released March 18th, 2015.

Drew: I once saw a Q&A session with The Wire creator Dan Simon where he had to defend a moment that one audience member saw as a crack in the realism of the show. I don’t remember Simon’s exact words, but his answer boiled down to the fact that the show isn’t real — sometimes, the creators would knowingly break from absolute fidelity in order to elicit the appropriate emotional response from us. Everything we saw on that show, just like any number of less realistic narratives, was there for our benefit, not because it’s 100% true to life. What’s funny to me is that the fan’s complaint wasn’t with the credulity-straining Hamsterdam or serial killer plotlines, but with the body language of an uncredited, unnamed character. I suspect the reason those bigger pieces of fiction get a pass is because we want them to happen. The Wire does such a good job of detailing how the system is broken, we can’t help but cheer when a character attempts to buck it. It’s cathartic, so we overlook that it’s also kind of batshit. I found myself thinking the same thing about Radia’s catharsis in C.O.W.L. 9, which is so necessary, it really doesn’t matter how unlikely it is. Continue reading

C.O.W.L. 7

cowl 7Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing C.O.W.L. 7, originally released December 24th, 2014.
Spencer: Crime is a constant, which is why we need forces in place to combat it on a full-time basis. Superheroes are trickier, though — they need a continuous supply of larger-than-life, world-threatening opponents to battle, or else there’s no point in them even existing. With the last of the Chicago Six captured that’s exactly the situation Geoffrey Warner finds himself facing, leading to his drastic decision to enlist superpowered mobsters so that C.O.W.L. has somebody to fight. Is this only a short-term stop-gap? Has C.O.W.L. truly outlived its usefulness? Only time will tell, but chances are, Geoffrey’s actions aren’t doing it any favors. Continue reading

C.O.W.L. 6

cowl 6Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing C.O.W.L. 6, originally released November 26th, 2014.

Spencer: Comparing any comic on the stands today to a book from the Golden or Silver Age is like comparing night and day. Besides the drastic differences in art, pacing, and dialogue, comics today simply operate with more subtlety, complexity, and shades of grey than the books of the 60’s. That isn’t always a plus — I miss a time where Superman could simply be inspirational — but for the most part, modern comics to a better job of reflecting the complexity of life itself. Kyle Higgins, Alex Siegel, and Elsa Charratier’s C.O.W.L. 6 is a Silver Age throwback, and the simple morality tale it weaves is a far cry from the version of Chicago presented in its first five issues. This contrast is the perfect way to display how far Geoffrey Warner has fallen. Continue reading